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Del Reisman Papers
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The Del Reisman Papers, 1936-2011, documents Reisman’s career and life as a writer and as a board member for the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW). The collection includes Reisman’s television scripts spanning 1958 to 1987 and correspondence pertaining to his produced and unproduced television and film projects. It also contains documents created during his work with the WGA and its board from 1989-2005, including his term as President from 1991-1993.
Born on April 13, 1924, Del Reisman grew up in Los Angeles. After attending Hollywood High, Reisman graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English/Journalism. During World War II, Reisman served with the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1942-45 and was trained as a bombardier on the B-17 Flying Fortress. He was eventually stationed in East Anglia, England, with the 555th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force, flying 35 combat missions, mostly over Northern Europe, and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant. After returning to the States, Reisman, whose mother Rose Judell worked for years in the studio system as executive assistant and script typist, launched his writing career during the “Golden Days” of live television in the 1950s, working on such shows as NBC Matinee Theater, and then as Story Editor for the acclaimed Playhouse 90, on which he worked with producer Martin Manulis, writers Rod Serling, David Shaw, and Robert Alan Arthur, as well as directors such as John Frankenheimer, George Roy Hill, Arthur Penn, and Arthur Hiller. Later, he served as Story Editor for the original acclaimed The Twilight Zone TV series. [He also served as Story Editor and Associate Producer on The Untouchables, and Associate Producer on Rawhide]. Reisman’s prolific string of TV writing includes writing or co-writing episodes of Peyton Place, Cagney & Lacey, Charlie’s Angels, Magnum P.I., Scarecrow & Mrs. King, The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, Little House on the Prairie, Lou Grant, The Six Million Dollar Man, Flamingo Road, The Blue Knight, Banacek, Harry O, Kung Fu, Ghost Story, Airwolf, and The Yellow Rose (TV’s Alice spin-off), among many hit TV shows. His screen credits include 1973’s The Take (co-written with Franklin Coen, based on a novel by G.F. Newman). A WGAW member since 1965, Del Reisman served as WGAW president from 1991-93, as well as the Guild’s vice president from 1987-91, and a member of the WGAW Board of Directors from 1979-87. He also chaired three consecutive WGA Negotiating Committees during the Guild’s rounds of contract negotiations over the years. Over the years, Reisman also served as chairman or member of over 20 WGAW Committees, including participating on TV Credits, Basic Cable, Strike Study, Outreach, Professional Status of Writers, Blacklist Credits, and President's Task Force on Communication. He was also a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the Writers Guild Foundation from 1994-2005 and 2007 to the present. For his longtime Guild service, Reisman was awarded the WGAW’s Morgan Cox Award in 1999, given to those Guild members “whose vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild.” Reisman continued to impact Hollywood’s next generation of writers serving as a faculty member at the American Film Institute, teaching screenwriting in AFI’s Feature Film and Television Development Program for the past 15 years. He was also a longtime, active member of the Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board, playing a key role over the years to help preserve and restore some of our nation’s most important film treasures. [In 2010], Reisman volunteered to participate in the Writers Guild Foundation’s inaugural Veteran Writers Workshop … personally instructing and mentoring Army, Air Force, and Navy war veterans and service personnel in the craft of writing.” Reisman died in 2011 at the age of 86. — Adapted from WGAW press release.
15.65 linear feet
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